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Highway 371 All Roads Open Celebration

District 3 news

Highway 371 ribbon cutting ceremony in Pequot Lakes on Oct. 18
Lakes Area community residents, businesses and elected officials, gathered together for a Highway 371 'All Roads Open' Celebration ribbon cutting event at Pequot Lakes Supervalu on Oct. 18. Attendance was over 100. All four lanes and road connections of the new nine mile, $50 million, Highway 371 expansion project in Nisswa, Pequot Lakes and Jenkins, opened Oct. 6, 2017. Mathiowetz Construction some off-road items yet to complete through November.

New Little Falls truck station facility opens

District 3 news

The newly constructed Little Falls truck station/sub area facility opened for business on April 19, 2017. While the new $6.8 million facility is designed to house and maintain today’s larger, modern plow trucks and equipment, its new location just northwest of the Highway 10/Highway 371 split in Little Falls, will also reduce response times to the area’s higher volume roads and improve overall operational efficiency.

The facility is located in the Little Falls Industrial Park and be accessed from Morrison County Road 76/Haven Road at Pine Avenue.

About the new facility

  • Constructed August 2015 - April 2017
  • Seven acre build site with modern facilities replaces existing five acre site that opened in 1958 (old site located west of Pine Grove Park off Highway 27)
  • New location will provide quicker response times to highest volume roadways, includes Highway 371 and Highway 10 (map of District 3 maintenance areas)
  • Main building is 24,000 square feet and includes: three mechanic repair bays, one wash bay, brine making facility, inventory and shop storage areas to house plow trucks, along with an employee support area
  • Large free-standing cold storage building for equipment and supplies
  • Equipment includes ten plow trucks, one loader, two pick-up trucks, one skid steer and one tractor
  • Provides regional support for de-icing chemicals, shared fleet and mechanic services
  • 60 foot x 100 foot salt shed

Cold storage building

Employees at the Little Falls truck station maintain approximately 300 lane miles of roadway–includes snow and ice removal, pothole patching, crack sealing, repairing or replacing culverts, clearing ditch drainage, repairing safety guardrail, cutting/removing trees and debris, and assisting law enforcement with traffic control in emergency situations.
Photos, graphics by Jenny Seelen

Massive bridge beams delivered to job site

District 3 news

Construction on the new Highway 24 bridge over the Mississippi River and Main St in Clearwater, began in August 2015. Since, crews have constructed all six piers—four in the river and two inland. The project remains on schedule, and bridge beams deliveries and placements are underway.

The first oversized bridge beam was delivered and set into place on Thursday, Dec. 22. In all, 46 pre-stressed concrete beams (up to four per day) will be delivered on weekdays through February 2017.

Each massive beam is 178 feet long and weighs 110 tons. The beams are manufactured in Elk River, Minnesota, and delivered using special trucking equipment (shown above). Two large cranes then lift and place each beam on top of the new piers. Survey crews use GPS coordinates to ensure each beam is positioned exactly right.

Beam deliveries will depend on weather conditions and the current water levels of the Mississippi River. For example, the causeway needs to above water for crews to work, wind speeds need to be calm for cranes to maneuver beams into place, and winter temperatures need to be warm enough for machinery to function properly. So, good weather is key in this stage.

Highway 24 will have periodic weekday lane closures on good weather days from sunrise to sunset, up to four times each day. Each closure will last up to 15 minutes with flaggers holding traffic on both directions of Hwy 24. Check 511mn.org each weekday morning to see if lane closures are scheduled.

Hwy 24 bridge beams placed on Dec. 23. Photos by MnDOT

More information

Watch the progress on the Hwy 24 project webcam, visit www.mndot.gov/d3/hwy24/

Highway 371 expansion project

District 3 news

The Highway 371 expansion project in Central Minnesota kicked off with a groundbreaking ceremony April 15 in Pequot Lakes. The nine mile stretch is being expanded from two lanes to four lanes in the communities of Nisswa, Pequot Lakes and Jenkins, in 2016-2017.

The expansion includes a new alignment and interchange in Pequot Lakes, new Paul Bunyan Trail bridges and trail segments, and access road improvements throughout the project.

2016 milestones

  • Ground breaking ceremony in Pequot Lakes on April 15
  • First new segment (future Hwy 371 southbound) between West Twin Lake Drive and County Road 107 in south Pequot Lakes opened on Aug. 30
  • Crow Wing County Road 11 bridge and lanes opened to traffic on Oct. 28
  • The second new segment (future Hwy 371 southbound) in Jenkins/north Pequot Lakes opened on Nov. 4
  • The future reduced conflict intersections in Pequot Lakes partially opened to through traffic at County Road 112 on Oct. 25, and County Road 107 on Nov. 4
  • The new Paul Bunyan Trail and two bridges are built and open to trail users

Mathiowetz Construction is the prime contractor for the $49.9 million design-build project to be completed in fall 2017.

More information

Learn more about the Highway 371 expansion project in Nisswa, Pequot Lakes and Jenkins, visit www.mndot.gov/d3/hwy371/

Bridge construction breaks ground in Clearwater

District 3 News

Lunda Construction from Black River Falls, Wisconsin, was awarded the $17.4 million Highway 24 bridge construction project to span the Mississippi River in Clearwater. The project broke ground Aug. 15, 2015.

Bridge construction site
Photo by Chad Balfanz, MnDOT construction

Crews first cleared and fenced in work areas along the river.  A temporary road known as a causeway (illustration below) was built from the west river bank out into the water to construct piers in the river.

Worksite illustration
Work site illustration by Jenny Seelen, MnDOT Communications

Pier construction has begun and will continue over the winter into spring 2016. Pre-stressed bridge beams weighing up to 120 tons each, will be delivered from a factory in Elk River sometime late December.

The current bridge will remain open to traffic as the new structure is built just southeast, or downstream.

When opened to traffic in fall 2017, the new two-lane bridge will have wider lanes, shoulders and a pedestrian sidewalk/trail separated by a concrete barrier for improved access and safety.

The old structure will be dismantled and any remaining work completed by June 30, 2018.

Redesigned T intersection provides a safer access, better traffic flow

District 3 News

Photo of intersection
Photo by JP Gillach, MnDOT Communications

A newly redesigned T intersection with traffic signal system was constructed at the junction of Hwy 12 and Hwy 25, east of Montrose and south of Buffalo.

The intersection features extended turn lanes, widened shoulders and concrete raised medians for lane separation, and a 'Continuous Green' through-lane on eastbound Hwy 12.

Layout of new T intersection at Hwy 25 and Hwy 12 east of Montrose.
Layout by Jenny Seelen, MnDOT Communications

It's the first intersection of its kind to be installed in Central Minnesota, District 3.

The $2.4 million project was completed in October 2015, and will improve safety and traffic flow through the busy-traveled intersection.

Highway 25 projects in Buffalo

District 3 News

The summer of 2015 marked the beginning of several Highway 25 road improvement projects to be built in Buffalo over the next few years.

New roundabout
New Hwy 25 roundabout at Settlers Pkwy opened to traffic in June 2015. Photo by JP Gillach, MnDOT Communications

Settlers Parkway Connection

The city of Buffalo completed a new roadway connection in October 2015, between Hwy 25 and Hwy 55 using Settlers Parkway. The $3.8 million project included a new roundabout on Hwy 25, turn lanes at Hwy 55, trail and local road connections.

Downtown Buffalo

In August 2015, the city of Buffalo began construction on another $4.8 million Highway 25 project downtown from south of Hwy 55 to Second St S.

The city will widen the road, construct a new roundabout at Eighth St, replace sidewalks, and city utilities. 

This year, crews worked on the south end from First St S to Second St NE. Work was suspended Nov. 3, and will resume in spring 2016.

Hwy 55 to Catlin St

In 2016, MnDOT plans to reconstruct and widen Highway 25 to four lanes from south of Catlin St through the Hwy 55 intersection.

Improvements include a new signal at 14th St, closing the median at 12th St, upgrading pedestrian accesses, and installing new dual-turn lanes and an upgraded signal at the Hwy 25/Hwy 55 intersection.

MnDOT and the city are partnering together on traffic staging and public outreach efforts, including open houses. Both projects require closures and detours of Hwy 25.

More information

Learn more about projects in Buffalo, visit mndot.gov/d3/buffalo

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New Hwy 169 bridge at Mille Lacs Kathio State Park

District 3 News

New Hwy 169 bridge in Vineland
Bridge railing designThe new Highway 169 bridge over the Rum River between Lake Mille Lacs and Ogechie Lake in Kathio State Park, in Vineland opened to traffic in October 2015. 

The bridge wall panels and railings have decorative designs, created by Melissa Schultz, MnDOT CO Bridge Aesthetics, imprinted into the concrete. She worked on the design with the DNR and the Mille Lacs Band of Objiwe.

Photos by Dan Gilder, MnDOT Construction

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New four lane, signal in Monticello

District 3 News

Hwy 25 in Monticello
Signal and turn lanes at School Blvd and CR 106/85th St NE. Photos by Rob Abfalter

All four lanes of Hwy 25 from I-94 southward to CR 106/85th St NE in Monticello opened to traffic on Sept. 25, 2015. The project:

  • Expanded Hwy 25 to four lanes  from south of the Manufactured Home Park (MHP) entrances to the CR 106/85th St NE intersection
  • Resurfaced existing lanes and upgraded traffic signals from School Blvd to I-94
  • Improved pedestrian accessibility and safety, including a new sidewalk connection from MHP to School Blvd
  • Improved drainage, including a new retaining pond near CR 106
  • Installed new traffic signal system and turn lanes at the intersection of Hwy 25 and CR 106/85th St NE

Hwy 25 in Monticello

The $5.7 million project improves traffic flow, motorist and pedestrian safety, and ensures Highway 25 will continue to serve motorists for many years. 

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Interstate 94 expands to six lanes at Rogers

October 2015

I-94 Rogers
All six lanes of I-94 opened to traffic on Oct. 13. Photo by Jeff Eggert, WSB

Concrete paving of the eastbound lanes in August 2015. Photo by Bryon Amo, WSB

Not long ago, it seemed any project to expand I-94 west of Rogers in the near future was unlikely. When Corridors of Commerce funding was announced, there was a glimmer of hope. But when the project to add one lane to each direction of I-94 between Rogers and St. Michael was funded, District 3 found itself in a challenging situation: How could it deliver such a project on time when district design staff was already stretched?

After some consultation, the answer was to use the design-build process. Design–build relies on a single point of responsibility contact and is used to minimize risks for the project owner and to reduce the delivery schedule by overlapping the design phase and construction phase of a project.

A few months later, the project was underway to reconstruct the roadway and add one lane in each direction, while maintaining two lanes of traffic in each direction during non-rush hours, and keeping all I-94 ramps open and at a contract cost of $28.3 million.

The fast-paced schedule called for preliminary work and construction of crossovers to begin in fall 2014, with the majority of work completed during the 2015 construction season.

“This project is one example of the type of infrastructure improvement we need to do to support our state’s economy,” said Commissioner Charlie Zelle. “Our transportation system needs to support the smooth and reliable flow of freight and employees commuting to work.

The Corridors of Commerce program is intended to do just that.”

Hoffman-PCI, MnDOT staff and oversight teams were co-housed in office space at the St. Michael City Hall. The office arrangement helped with coordination and communication that aided in making quicker decisions as designs and refinements were proposed, reviewed and approved quickly before being constructed.

Some of the project’s highlights include high quality pavement and noise wall construction. The project’s environmental partnering resulted in a high-quality final product. Plans to keep birds from nesting under bridges needed to be developed and executed, and a re-aligned Fox Creek resulted in a design that is not only beautiful, but is sensitive to the environmental context of the area. Cooperation between MnDOT project staff, the MnDOT bridge office and the contractor helped the crew quickly adapt to the changing needs of the project.

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Intersection conflict warning systems help reduce crashes, improve safety

District 3 News

MnDOT is installing warning systems at 54 rural intersections statewide this fall to help reduce crashes and improve safety, including three in central Minnesota at

  • Hwy 10 at CR 23 in Becker
  • Hwy 23 at CR 158 in Cold Spring
  • Hwy 210 at CR 59 in Riverton

 The systems are used at stop-controlled intersections to alert drivers when vehicles are approaching. The system uses a combination of signing, flashing lights that turn on when traffic is approaching an intersection, and sensors that trigger the lights to flash.

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Storm cleanup along Hwy 371 in Nisswa

District 3 News

Photos by Todd Fussy and Jenny Seelen

MnDOT maintenance crews assist with clearing trees along Hwy 371 in Nisswa after a strong storm hit the Brainerd Lakes area Sunday evening, July 12, 2015, leaving many roads impassable with fallen trees and powerlines.

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New Hwy 95 bridge opens in Cambridge

District 3 News

New Hwy 95 bridge in Cambridge
The newly constructed Hwy 95 bridge over the Rum River in Cambridge opened to traffic on May 28, 2015. Photo by Chad Balfanz

The new $6 million bridge will improve safety with wider shoulders and updated lighting, and provide smoother pavement near the Rum River.

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Diverging diamond interchange in Sartell, St. Cloud

The newly constructed Hwy 15 and CR 120 diverging diamond interchange in Sartell and St. Cloud opened to traffic on Oct. 17, 2013. Motorists will experience a smoother traffic flow and easier access to local roads and businesses.

The interchange was the second diverging diamond design to open in Minnesota, and the first that is fully functional with traffic signals.

Photo of the Hwy 15/CR 120 Diverging Diamond interchange from above
The interchange uses lanes that cross over at each end of the bridge to eliminate left-hand turns across opposing traffic.

The interchange also features an integrated programmable signal system. Traffic signals are located at the crossovers at each end of the bridge and where the ramps intersect. The system allows traffic, pedestrians and bicyclists to safely cross and navigate County Road 120 bridge over Hwy 15.

“When you eliminate the left turn across opposing traffic, you eliminate one of the more dangerous traffic movements a motorist makes any given day,” said Sue Groth, State Traffic Engineer. “By eliminating that movement and programming the signal system to accommodate the new traffic flow, we expect to see strong long-term improvements in both safety and mobility at this site.”

The $10 million project was constructed by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, in partnership with Stearns County and the cities of Sartell and St. Cloud.

The area had been rapidly developing over the years. New healthcare facilities and retail businesses have increased the amount of traffic, which warranted the development of this project.

Learn more on how to navigate a diverging diamond.

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Chutes installed on district maintenance fleet

District 3 News

chemical scatter testing
Chemical application scatter testing

MnDOT District 3 Maintenance, Baxter, hosted a statewide Winter Maintenance Chemical and Application Research testing project. Chutes were one of the pieces of equipment tested in delivering chemicals to the road surface. Chutes were found to be effective in reducing the bounce-and-scatter of salt chemicals.

Chute on back of snow plow
Snow plow materials chute

The research concluded that chutes are low cost and can help reduce environmental impacts, chemical waste, improve delivery, and reduce snow and ice costs. With these findings, MnDOT District 3 decided to attach chutes (photo right) on all snow plow fleet beginning in 2013.




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Living snow fences reduce snow and ice build-up on roadways

District 3 News

Planted living snow fence
Living snow fence planted along Highway 371.

Approximately 3,800 sites have been identified in Minnesota to be problem snow drift road sites, including on Hwy 84 north of Pine River where a Living Snow Fence (LSF) was planted in Spring 2012.

Living snow fences act as a buffer to keep blowing and drifting snow off the roadway which, in turn, makes the road safer and less costly to maintain.

Landowners who maintain LSF's are usually under a 10 or 15 year contract with the State, and receive a yearly rental payment and an inconvenience fee per acre.

In addition, they may also qualify for federally funded USDA farm programs.

The planted Hwy 84 LSF for example, was 525 ft long and consisted of 110 White Spruce conifers and 125 Chokeberry shrubs. In spring 2013, another fence will be planted along Hwy 47 north of Glen. The 1,100 ft long fence will consist of Norway and White Spruce trees and Chokeberry bushes.

More information

For Living Snow Fence opportunities on State highways in Central Minnesota, contact Pat Wallin Johnson, at 320-223-6524.

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Highway 371 construction in Nisswa

District 3 News

MnDOT, in partnership with Crow Wing County and the city of Nisswa, constructed a $7 million project (MnDOT share $4.2 million), that will improved safety, mobility and road accesses. Improvements include:

  • Reconstructed four-lanes of Hwy 371, includes turn lanes and accesses
  • Relocated the signalized intersection at Hwy 371/Crow Wing CR 18 one-quarter mile south
  • Constructed a new Crow Wing CR 18 connection to northeast of Nisswa, includes a roundabout at Smiley Rd
  • Installed a pedestrian tunnel underneath Hwy 371 to the future Nisswa Lake park
  • Reconstructed Smiley Rd and new connection
  • Installed curbs, gutters, sidewalks, storm and sanitary sewers, and other utilities
  • Installed four storm water holding ponds
  • Realigned connections to Paul Bunyan Trail

The entire two-year project began in 2012 and was completed in 2013.

Hwy 371 four lane expansion through Nisswa, Jenkins, Pequot Lakes

Highway 371 will be expanded to a four lane divided highway in 2016-2017 between Nisswa and Jenkins. The project includes a new connection and interchange at CR 11 in Pequot Lakes.

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Stabilized reclamation road resurfacing

District 3 News

New base materials exit the reclamation machine.
New base materials exit the reclamation machine.

A Hwy 65 resurfacing project was completed in 2010 from Mora to Woodland that used a construction process called Stabilized Reclamation.

Crews ground and mixed the old pavement surface with gravel and added a stabilizing agent to strengthen the recycled (reclaimed) pavement materials. A new thin layer of blacktop is then paved over the reclaimed surface.

In the long run this process saves money. Iit provides a longer lasting pavement life than a typical mill and overlay project. Fewer, if any cracks, will appear in the new road surface with this process.

In Depth: Stabilized Reclamation Road Train Operation

Rehabilitation Work on Hwy 65 Mora to Woodland

  1. Dry cement materials are spread onto the existing road surface in front of the train operation
  2. A water tanker feeds water into the reclaim machine to keep the grinder cool and add needed water to the reclaimed gravel and cement
  3. A grinder with diamond head teeth, grabs, chops and grinds the blacktop road surface
  4. Materials travel by conveyor belt to a sifted grinder that keeps oversize materials from entering the new base materials. Oil is added and the materials exit back onto the road surface
  5. A oil truck feeds oil into the reclaim machine
  6. A grader smoothes out the new base materials
  7. A compactor packs down and densifies the road base. A thin new layer of blacktop is paved on top

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MnROAD Test Section

District 3 News

MnROAD Test Section at Albertville/Monticello

Traffic was switched off a test section of Interstate 94 to allow crews to install reinforcing dowel rebar in between concrete section joints. The concrete dated back to the 1970's and the dowel bars that were installed had deteriorated to a point of being ineffective. Due to this, the overall ride was very bumpy.

I-94 dowel reinforcing rebar installedThe quarter-mile test project will assist in controlling concrete movements at the joints which is caused by Minnesota's seasonal changing temperatures and traffic loads.

Crews first sawed and hammered out three 18" lengths of concrete in each of the right lane tire treads. The new epoxy-coated rebar was then placed onto a foam stand in the cutout sections.

The reason the rebar is placed on foam stands is to ensure that the newly poured concrete will completely surround the rebar.

It is hoped that through constructing this research section, future dowel bar retrofit type repairs will be deemed cost effective on older concrete road pavements.


MnROAD is a pavement test track made up of various research materials and pavements owned and operated by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, working with its partners. It's located within District 3, near Albertville, MnROAD works in conjunction with MnDOT's State Materials Lab. Learn more.

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Paving a 'Greener Way'

District 3 News

Paving on Hwy 169 using warm mix asphalt

A warm mix asphalt material was used and tested on Hwy 169 from Aitkin to Garrison.

Warm mix asphalt materials are produced at a lower temperature around 235°F degrees versus the usual 310°F degrees. This is accomplished by using an asphalt additive, in this case Evotherm, to the oil mixed in the pavement materials. The additive acts as a lubricant for assisting in the densification of the asphalt, which is a critical factor in long-term performance.

Benefits include:

  • Lessens the wear and tear on hot mix equipment due to its lower processing temperatures
  • Allows higher percentages of recycled asphalt materials to be utilized
  • Allows asphalt application at a temperature that is 200°- 230°F
  • Traffic is returned immediately after compaction
  • Reduces emissions of fumes to the environment and onsite workers

Theoretically, asphalt produced at lower temperatures will reduce the oxidation of the recycled bituminous materials made in the new mix. The pavement should then last longer and crack much less, which will reduce overall costs.

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Northstar Commuter Rail service

District 3 News

Northstar Commuter Big Lake Station
Northstar Commuter Big Lake Station. Tickets, schedule, stops

On Monday, Nov. 16, 2009 the state's first commuter rail line began passenger service, and 2,400 people rode the 40-mile rail route between Big Lake and Minneapolis.

Metro Transit is operating the commuter service that has trips in the morning and evening weekday rush hours, as well as regular weekend and some special events (ex: Vikings games).

A public opening celebration was held at the Target Field station in Minneapolis. The event included riding the train and touring each of the Northstar stations.

Two stations are located in District 3--Big Lake and Elk River; other stops include Anoka, Coon Rapids/Riverdale, Fridley and Target Field.

A new park-n-ride lot was constructed in east St. Cloud right off Highway 10, and a Northstar Link Commuter bus/route was added to the St. Cloud Metro Transit system to provide service to Big Lake. The 'Catch the Link' bus stops at the park-n-ride lot, downtown metro station, and SCSU. Tickets, schedule, stops

The Big Lake Station features a steel sculpture entitled “The Commuters” by artist Parker McDonald.

In December, one of the trains leaving Target Field broke down and 120 passengers were taken by two buses to the suburb stations. The culprit was a faulty part that sends signals to the locomotive engine. Crews replaced the part in all five trains at the maintenance facility located in Big Lake.

During the first 15 days of operation, the train carried 33,112 passengers. Daily ridership in November averaged 2,207 compared to a 2010 daily average goal of about 2,460.

In response to customer requests, Metro Transit added overnight parking in the park-and-ride lots at Northstar's suburban rail stations. The six-month pilot program designates up to 10 spaces each at the Big Lake, Elk River, Anoka, Coon Rapids-Riverdale and Fridley stations. The designated spaces are available for overnight parking only with each car permitted to occupy the space for no longer than seven days at a time.

The $317 million project was delivered on time and below budget and was a joint effort of the Northstar Corridor Development Authority, the Metropolitan Council and the Minnesota Department of Transportation. The Counties Transit Improvement Board and Sherburne County assist with operating funds.

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Students learn valuable Work Zone safety tips

District 3 News

Lifetime Skills Driver's Education program in Elk River. Photo by Judy Jacobs
Lifetime Skills Driver's Education program in Elk River. Photo by Judy Jacobs

The program is offered to promote safe driving in winter and summer highway work zones. The presentation is aimed at driving tips and suggestions on what motorists should do when encountering snowplows, but other segments give advice on how to safely maneuver through summer highway construction zones.

Each MnDOT presenter will share personal experiences from his or her years of service on the roads in highway work zones. A short quiz is also offered to aid learning. As an added benefit, arrangements can be made to have a fully equipped MnDOT snowplow truck available at your presentation.

It's free! There is no cost for the Safety Awareness multi-media program which can be geared for any age group—pre-elementary to senior citizens. It’s proven to be perfect for Drivers Education classes.

There are speakers located throughout central Minnesota. We can accommodate groups of any size—large or small.

Call to schedule a presentation for your class group today!

If you are interested in scheduling a safety presentation for your class or community group or have questions, please contact: JP Gillach, District 3 Program Coordinator, at 218-828-5706 or 800-657-3961.

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HAWK pedestrian crossing signal system in St. Cloud

District 3 News

Pedestrian Crossing System Installed in St. Cloud - Oct. 2009
Photo by Jenny Seelen
In 2010, a new system was installed on Highway 23/Division Street in St. Cloud at 12th Avenue and is referred to as the HAWK (High Intensity Activated Crosswalk), designed to make their crossing safer and more effective than conventional crosswalks.

The HAWK traffic signal display provides a unique shape that immediately identifies a traffic signal as a pedestrian crossing. The traffic signal head remains dark until the pedestrian button has been pressed. Motorists are alerted by a flashing yellow light, then a steady yellow light when the HAWK system has been activated. When a steady red light is displayed, motorists are expected to stop to allow the pedestrian to cross.

Pedestrians press the button when they want to cross, and obey the pedestrian indicators used on standard signal systems.

This safety project is a result of a partnership with the city of St. Cloud and MnDOT.

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Cured-in-place culvert used on Hwy 169

District 3 News

Cured-in-place culverts
Photos by Jenny Seelen

Cured-in-place culverts
Air pressure pushes the liner through the culvert.

Normally, you have to close the road and set up a detour to replace a centerline culvert. However, on Hwy 169 south of Milaca, crews continued paving operations above as workers installed a cured-in-place flexible pipe liner below.

Here's how they install one:

  • All the debris is flushed out of the existing culvert.
  • Workers set up the liner on rollers from a refrigerated truck. The pipe liner consists of a lining of thermosetting resin-impregnated flexible fabric tube. Before installing, the material must be kept cold and remain out of the sun.
  • Crews inflate the liner with air and the pressure pushes the liner through the culvert. The stored liner is inside-out and when it goes through the culvert it reverses.
  • Once up and running the liner rolls quickly out of the refrigerated truck through the culvert.
  • Once the liner is through the culvert, it is capped on both ends and high pressure steam from a boiler is then forced into the liner.
  • The pressurized steam makes a chemical reaction occur and the material becomes dense and forms into a new culvert.
Todd Gjovik, Mn
DOT field inspector
Todd Gjovik, MnDOT field inspector, holds a piece of the processed liner material.

The material has a strong smell, similar to a fiberglass boat manufacturer. An advantage to the flexible liner is that it fills in all extra spaces - every curve, crack and cranny.

Cured-in-place pipelines form a much smoother surface than concrete by eliminating joints which increases flow capacity, prevents root intrusion and environmental corrosion, while stopping leaks.

Summer of 2009, was the first time the district used this technology.

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High Visibility StrippingHigh visibility stripping

District 3 News

On unbonded concrete overlay projects, like this completed one on southbound Hwy 169, a high visibility striping is often used.

The unique two-toned striping was installed featuring two black strips outside the main white one. The stripping enhances the motorists' overall ability to see the roadway markings.

Photo by Jenny Seelen

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MnDOT employees undergo snowplow simulator training

District 3 News

Kevin Hoge, Aitkin truck station, demonstrates driving in the simulator.
Kevin Hoge, MnDOT Aitkin truck station, demonstrates driving in the simulator. Photo by Judy Jacobs

The State's MnDOT snowplow driving simulator, that's housed in a semitrailer, visits both the St. Cloud and Baxter offices for training.

Each year, all district snowplow operators attend the refresher four-hour training course that consists of both classroom and hands-on driving in the simulator.

In Depth

The simulation system is contained in a mobile 47' tri-axle semi trailer.

The onboard electronics needs are served by a 40 KW diesel powered generator which operates the simulators, the advanced environmental controls, the operators console, and the system peripherals.

Computer Console
The operators computer console tracks both drivers performances, and assists the trainer to adjust the different scenarios. Photo by Jenny Seelen

There are two simulator terminals contained in this mobile system and each terminal consists of:

  • Three-42" plasma screens that give a 270 degree field of vision
  • A changeable dash screen to represent the onboard controls of different types of vehicles
  • A touch screen that allows the Trainee to raise and lower the plow and the wing, turn on headlights, turn on the sander, shift an automatic pushbutton transmission, and control a three position "Jake Brake"

Each simulator is driven by a high performance main frame computer along with three additional, integrated, support computers that control and produce the graphics of the five screens.

The two simulators can be operated either independently of each other or in a linked scenario—example gang plowing.

Both simulators are controlled and operated by a trainer at the operators computer console. This controls the various and changing environments that the simulators are programmed to being operated in. It controls the road surface, weather, other vehicles, operator condition, and vehicle problem occurrences. The trainer can rapidly customize the training experience a myriad of specially tailored events—tire blowout, fog, ice, etc.

Besides the pair of snowplow operator simulator systems, the unit also has a pair of automobile/pickup

Simulator stations so that additional training can be conducted for anyone who operates any type of MnDOT vehicle. These will be incorporated into a future Defensive Driving training protocol.

A typical class consists of eight trainees and takes approximately four hours to complete.

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Tow plow

Tow plow technology

District 3 News

MnDOT District 3 has two tow plows for snow removal use on I-94 and two-and four-lane highways in the Monticello and St. Cloud metro areas.

The tow plow is a trailer- mounted plow which is pulled and operated from a snowplow. It operates at any angle up to 30 degrees and is capable of plowing snow at normal plowing speeds of 30-40 mph. The 26 foot wide plow gives the operator the ability to move snow efficiently and safely from two lanes of roadway in one pass.


State’s Ted Foss ‘Move Over’ law includes highway workers, vehicles

District 3 News

The 2010 state law that requires drivers on multi-lane highways to move one lane away from emergency vehicles on the roadway or shoulder also includes road repair vehicles.

The law was named in honor of State Patrol officer Ted Foss who was killed in 2000 by an errant driver during a traffic stop on Interstate 90 in Winona County.

Department officials said the change is needed due to the increasing number of crashes that involve highway workers performing construction, maintenance or emergency repair work.

“The law requires motorists to move at least one lane away from emergency vehicles with emergency lights activated,” said State Patrol Lt. Mark Peterson.

“Motorists who cannot safely move over should safely reduce their speed,” he said. “Failure to take these actions can result in a traffic ticket.” In one recent incident on Interstate 94 near Monticello, a truck driver veered into an inside lane where pothole repair work was underway.

The truck passed by two MnDOT guard vehicles before it crashed into a pickup truck and a SUV. Fortunately, the truck went into the ditch before it could reach workers on the ground. There were no injuries reported.

During the last three years, the State Patrol has issued more than 1,000 “Move Over” citations.

“Law enforcement, emergency responders and road crews serve to keep roads safe for the motoring public,” Peterson said.

“It’s the responsibility of motorists to pay attention to ensure the safety of those performing what are often life-saving duties on the state’s highways.”

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